Accessibility links

Breaking News

Putin, Erdogan Discuss Military Coordination In Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following talks in Ankara in December.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to strengthen coordination between the countries' military and security services in Syria, the Kremlin says.

Putin's office issued a statement after the two presidents spoke by phone on February 8.

It said plans for closer cooperation intended to improve "the fight against terrorist groups that are violating the cease-fire regime" in Idlib Province, which borders Turkey. A Russian military pilot died after a Su-25 warplane was shot down over rebel-held territory in Idlib on February 3.

Russia and the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which Russia has been supporting with a campaign of air strikes and other military action since September 2015, refer to most of the forces fighting against the government as terrorists.

Putin and Erdogan discussed what the Kremlin said was "the importance of continuing the joint work of Russia, Turkey, and Iran" on Syria.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they discussed a possible meeting between Putin, Erdogan, and Iranian President Hassan Rohani, but that no date was agreed.

Russia and Turkey have supported opposing sides in the war in Syria. But along with Iran they have sponsored a series of meetings -- held mainly in Kazakhstan, but most recently in Sochi, Russia, in late January -- that they say are aimed at ending the conflict.

The leadership of the Syrian opposition boycotted the talks in Sochi and the United States, Britain, and France declined to attend, citing what they said was Assad's refusal to properly engage.

The war, which began with a crackdown on protests against Assad's government, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven millions for their homes.

With reporting by Reuters, RIA Novosti, and TASS